It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, but rather than feature an item from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, I decided to share a recent exchange I had with a customer about pricing. It was a bit of a price
Let me begin by saying I think pricing is one of the most difficult aspects of running an Etsy shop. At least in my experience, there's a constant tension between my very real need to make a profit and the need to stay within the bounds of "what the market will bear." So I recently increased my price on my chevron oven mitts by a dollar to offset the increased costs of fabric and the increased cost of shipping to get that fabric to Lincoln (since many of the fabrics I used in my products are not available locally). The now charge $17.00 for a chevron mitt plus $3.00 domestic shipping.
So, a few days ago I received a Convo from a potential customer with a link to the aqua chevron oven mitt shown above, asking me to send a photo "with some reference or a hand size." So, to provide a visual aid, in addition to inch and cm measurements, I took a photo with my hand on top of an oven mitt with a quarter beside the mitt to comply with the request.
Two days later, I received this response:
I appreciate the response. I think your mitts are great, but I just can't justify spending $20 on one mitt. I appreciate your help though. Thanks!
On a good day, I would have politely responded, "I am glad you like the mitts. Thank you for visiting my shop." And I would have left it at that. But that day wasn't a particularly good day, and the little jab about pricing struck a raw nerve. And so-o-oo I fired back this response:
I understand your position.
However, I have over $6.00 in materials in each mitt, and it takes me approximately 2 hours to make each chevron mitt, because quilting the zig-zag pattern requires many stops and pivots. With the chevrons, I also match the design at the side seams, which requires more fabric. I am already paying myself less than minimum wage for a quality handmade product using high quality 100% cotton fabrics, so I won't lower my price just to make a sale.
I'm sure you can find a mitt you like for $8.00 or $10.00 at Wal-Mart or Target.
Although it felt good to vent, I regretted pushing the SEND button. But to my amazement, here is the response I received a few hours later.
Your unassailable logic has won me over. ;) I will order one. Thanks.
As I prepare for Fall craft fairs, I will need to revisit local pricing. The local market will not bear the prices I charge on Etsy, but my material costs and time investment are the same --- and the booth rental fees often amount to more than the Etsy listing fees + PayPal or Direct Checkout charges per item.
So, dear readers, I'd be interested in your thoughts on pricing.